Right from the beginning the Wolverines showed their skills on the court and foreshadowed a win against the Spartans. After Senior guard Katelynn Flaherty hit two 3-pointers in a row in the beginning of the quarter, the team got fired up and was able to build off of the momentum to maintain the lead throughout the rest of the game. Once Michigan was ahead, MSU could never recover and the 1st quarter ended 25-11.
Throughout the rest of the game the Wolverines dominated. They forced numerous turnovers resulting in 15 points that showed the crowd the team was not afraid to get aggressive defensively in order to beat MSU. Michigan’s overall shooting stats showed how accurate they were throughout the game, shooting 50% from 3-point range and making 49.1% of field goals compared to Michigan State’s 31.1% of field goals made.
Even when Michigan State came close to closing the 10-point gap in the middle of the 3rd quarter, Junior guard Nicole Munger sunk a 3-pointer and from there the Wolverines scored the remaining 30 points needed to seal the victory over the Spartans, who only scored 17 the rest of the way. The major difference in the teams seen in the matchup Tuesday night was the Spartans’ injury ridden roster. With only eight players dressing, the team’s flow wasn’t quite there from the start of the game. This led to them never getting ahead in the game, giving Michigan the upper hand throughout the whole game and ending the game with a Michigan win 74-48.
Katelynn Flaherty is the team’s leading scorer and just surpassed the school’s record of all-time leading scorer among both men and women’s basketball programs. Flaherty is not only the team’s top scorer but is also supportive of her other teammates in their goal to get into the NCAA tournament this year. Against Michigan State, Flaherty racked up a total of 26 points followed by Nicole Munger with 13 points and Freshman forward Hailey Brown with 10. The whole Michigan team works well together using Flaherty’s power and skill as the driving factor in their 5th consecutive win. Even when Flaherty gets double teamed, she uses that to her advantage, finding the open teammate, passing, with a majority of the time resulting in points scored.
Michigan is currently ranked 19th in the top 25 teams in the country, while Michigan State remains unranked. They are #2 in the Big Ten conference behind Maryland who they won’t play until February 22nd at Crisler Center. This matchup is their last game of the season before the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament.